I am beyond excited and so honored to be featured on Style Me Pretty New York TODAY! That is right…Mekina’s whimsical Brooklyn Botanical Garden Cherry Blossom Bridals are showcased in all their loveliness on one of my favorite wedding blogs. As amazing as this feature is, that is not what I want to share today. I want to share the story BEHIND this photo shoot. A story that truly reveals God’s goodness and love.
It was a magnificent day. Sun sparkling through the tiny pink flowers in full bloom on the trees, Mekina and I were struck with wonder at how magical the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens really were. I had envisioned photographing a bride here for almost a year. Pictures of a woman so happy, in a low-back lace dress with pretty pink cherry blossom bokeh in the background danced through my head. I finally had the opportunity to make my dream a reality.
The park was packed that day. Hundreds of people sat under the rows and rows of cherry blossoms reading a good book or talking with friends. It literally would have been almost impossible to capture a photo of Mekina without anyone else in it, but I was up for a challenge. Mekina and I found our way to the nearest bathroom so she could slip on the gorgeous wedding gown Sarah Jassir of Angelique Bridal had custom fit just for her, bursting with pure giddiness. We unzipped the pearly white bag that held the dress and both stopped dead in our tracks. It was the wrong dress. There was no possible way to make it work for our shoot. As we made our way out of the gorgeous gardens, we held our breath in anticipation as we looked up the weather forecast for tomorrow, knowing the cherry blossoms wouldn’t last long.
RAIN. No, not just rain…100% chance of rain with flooding was coming the next day. Since I was leaving for a destination wedding the day after that, it was our last chance this year. Sarah quickly switched the gowns for us that evening, apologizing profusely, and Mekina and I decided to meet at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens the next day agreeing that despite the weather forecast, we had to try. I went home that night and prayed. Honestly feeling like God had put the idea for this shoot on my heart, I prayed that he would allow the sun to come out, if only for the time we were shooting, just for me. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” -Matthew 19:26
It rained so hard the next day that Mekina’s Manhattan apartment flooded. It was even raining as we drove to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. When we parked, it stopped. We had one hour until the park closed at 6pm. It was time to start shooting! Arriving at the gate, we received resistance from the guards, explaining the latest we could apply for a bridal photo shoot on the day of was 4:30pm. They also explained that the information we had read on the website and that the guard had given us in person the day before about being allowed to take wedding photos in the garden was outdated. If we wanted to proceed with the shoot, we would have to receive clearance (which could take up to two weeks) and we would need a guard to escort us around the property. If we received clearance, the shoot would cost us $1500. As frustrating as what they were telling us was, I kept a smile on my face and asked if there was any way to get permission to go through. After 45 minutes of phone calls, I was finally put on the line with the person who would officially tell me whether we could proceed with the shoot or if we would have to go home. Overhearing the person on the line tell the security guard not to let us through, I said a quick prayer, asking God to change her heart if it was his will. When I took the phone, I asked for a little understanding and grace in this situation, explaining the extensive miscommunication and imploring her to make an exception. I handed the phone back to the guard, waiting on the edge of my seat for her decision. Looking up and smiling at Mekina and me, he said we could go in!
The back and forth over the phone took such a long time that the park was officially closed by the time we entered. We had the entire garden to ourselves! The rain from that day had knocked many of the cherry blossom petals off the trees, creating a beautiful soft pink aisle on the ground. We were given a golf cart to transport us from location to location so Mekina’s beautiful dress didn’t get wet. The cherry on top of it all? As soon as we started shooting, the sun came out, shining gloriously through the delicate blooms on the trees. I knew with out a doubt in that moment God was smiling and saying, “See my darling, I love you. Enjoy this precious gift I have given to you.”
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28